Technically this post should be called “why I wear shorts year round,” but it’s snowing right now so now’s when I get the most questions about it.
When I was a kid, I hated wearing shorts because I thought I had stupid looking kneecaps. In retrospect I think most kids have stupid looking kneecaps. I didn’t really start wearing shorts frequently until jams came out. If you’re too young to remember, jams were surfer shorts. They were invented in the 1960s and were brought back into style in the 1980s by surfers and skateboarders. Around the time I graduated high school I discovered cargo shorts, and by the time I went to college I was pretty much wearing cargo shorts all the time and have been wearing them ever since. (Not the same pair, of course.)
(Me, front left, wearing shorts. Redlands Newspaper Staff Photo, 1991.)
In the early 90s when I worked at Pizza Hut, employees could wear black shorts to work but managers could not. I started as a delivery driver who moonlighted as a shift supervisor, so I wore shorts on the nights I delivered pizza and black jeans on the nights I didn’t. One time I got my schedule mixed up and accidentally wore shorts on a day when I was supposed to be the night closing manager. My manager sent me home to change. I considered not coming back at all that night, but after cooling down a bit, I did. I had plenty of time to cool down because it was a 10 minute drive each way, plus my pants were dirty so I had to wash and dry them before I could return to work.
A few years later when I began working for the government at the age of 21, I was told that Fridays were “casual day.” Great! The next Friday, I showed up to work wearing a polo and a pair of shorts. A big-wig manager spotted me and my shorts in the hallway and followed me back to where I worked, where he told my supervisor that shorts were not acceptable on casual Friday. I’m sure everybody but me already knew that “work casual” was different from “casual casual.”
I guess those two incidents combined with the fact that I simply enjoy wearing them turned me into a “shorts guy.” More than that, wearing shorts to me represents freedom. Not freedom like “America,” but freedom as in, “nobody is making me not wear shorts right now.” I wear pants to work because I have to and I wear pants at family gatherings or when going out to dinner because I want to look nice. But if I have nothing to do and nobody to impress, you’ll find me wearing shorts.
Even when it’s snowing.